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Sunday, January 22, 2017
Requiem for a Lightweight
As rioters trashed streets, smashed and burned property and attacked police just blocks from the securely cordoned off National Mall, the Inauguration of President Donald J. Trump took place. He gave a bold speech, reiterating his campaign promises. He would secure our borders, promote and protect U.S. interests, and revive an economy made moribund by the regulatory overreaching and policies of Obama and his Administration.
How refreshing it was to hear a crisp, muscular defense of our native land by a man who used "we," not the incessant "I" and "me" of his predecessor. No more loopy faculty lounge locutions whose nice-sounding phrases papered over unconstitutional personal power grabs.
In the words of Ben Stein he's a "shtarker," a Yiddish word meaning a sturdy, strong man:
The NYT does not call the tune any longer. Voters get their news from a jillion sources on the Internet. The Times is a voice and a big voice. But there are a billion other voices now. And about half of the nation just does not believe Big Media any longer. They don't buy the vicious lie that white people are all racists. They know that the Black Caucus and Black Lives Matter are real racists. They know Joe Sixpack isn't and anyway, they don't care.
They're sick of being pushed around. They elected a tough guy who won't be pushed around. He's a shtarker and he cannot be broken in spirit by the thugs and bullies of the media.
The left will beat and beat and huff and puff. But it's a different world now. Again… The people who elected Trump don't remotely believe he's a racist and they're sick of hearing it anyway.
This Trump guy. He's not a sensitive soul like Nixon. He knows how pitifully jealous the media people are. He owes them nothing. He sneers at them. He's moving them out of the White House. It's brilliant. He's making real the truth of now. The media are not good guys by and large. They're jealous snobs. They are not running the show any longer. One tweet from Trump blows their 5,000 word stories to bits. This battle over Trump's legitimacy is done. In Trump's mind and in his legions' minds, he's legitimate and the media isn't. He knows how the world works. It really is a reality TV show now. He's some dope.
The mainstream media tried hard in the transition period to continue to wound Trump, sticking shivs in his proxies, his nominees. The NYT published a demonstrably false article claiming Rick Perry didn't even know the scope of the duties of the Department of Energy; they promoted the Democratic falsehood that Tom Price had violated his ethics obligations. The Washington Post headed a story "Trump picks former Governor Sunny Perdue, who once led a prayer for rain, as agriculture secretary," making that seem like an outlandish thing only a hick or primitive shaman would indulge in. Worse, they headlined an article about David Gelernter, under consideration as Trump's science adviser, as follows: David Gelernter, fiercely anti-intellectual computer scientist, is being eyed for Trump's science adviser. As you may recall he's the Yale professor who was maimed by a Unabomber bomb delivered to his home. But there's much more about him you may not know. As Powerline reminds readers of the Timeprofile of Gelertner, which includes this:
Sun Microsystems co-founder Bill Joy has called Gelernter, who pioneered breakthroughs in parallel processing, "one of the most brilliant and visionary computer scientists of our time."
It concludes on good grounds,
But because he disagrees with liberals, he's a Spiro Agnew level "anti-intellectual" to the Washington Post."
It's no wonder that while Rasmussen now shows Trump with a 56% favorability rating, the Associated Press survey reveals 96% of Americans no longer trust the mainstream media.
On his way out of the White House, Obama transferred even more prisoners from Gitmo, commuted the sentences of even more prisoners in US jails, including Bradley Manning (who despite having all the masculine equipment he was born with) is being called by his adopted first name Chelsea. Manning by whatever he calls himself leaked 700,000 military files and diplomatic cables to Wikileaks, seriously endangering not only our own men and women, programs and methods, but as well the Afghans, Iraqis and others in the Middle East who bravely risked their lives to help us. (In the process rather cutting the legs out of the bleats that the Russians "hacked" the election, referring to the Wikileaks material of the DNC and Hillary emails as "leaks", not "hacks.") Obama's "Um"-filled explanation for this act was unpersuasive. It does appear Manning is mentally ill, but there's no reason why instead of commuting his sentence, Obama didn't merely have him transferred to a military hospital for psychiatric care. No intelligence and military organization can function if there are not harsh punishments for such a breach.
But, as they say in late night TV ads, there's more. He also pardoned Oscar Lopez Rivera .
Lopez-Rivera has been in federal prison since 1981, after he was convicted of seditious conspiracy and arms trafficking in connection with his leadership of the FALN, the notorious left-wing terrorist group that perpetrated more than 130 attacks on U.S. soil from the mid 1970s through the mid 1980s, killing six and wounding many more. Most members of the FALN, which purported to fight for Puerto Rican independence but maintained deep ties to Fidel Castro's Cuba, were long ago captured and imprisoned, and many of them have already served their time and been released. But Lopez-Rivera remains unrepentant about his crimes, and he's hardly been a model prisoner: In one of two failed attempts to escape, he conspired with others inside and outside his prison to kill his way to freedom, attempting to procure grenades, rifles, plastic explosives, bulletproof vests, blasting caps, and armor-piercing bullets. After the FBI thwarted this plan, another 15 years was added to Lopez's original 55-year sentence. [/quote]
Obama's pal, Weatherman Terrorist Bill Ayers was ecstatic at the news, promising to show up for the demonstrations in D.C. as soon as he and his fellow terrorist wife Bernardine Dohrn returned from a trip to Cuba. Iowahawk was not amused. He tweeted:
"Coverage of Oscar Lopez Rivera & Bill Ayers proves the media loves lefty bombers; coverage of Gelertner proves they also hate their victims."
A commenter at Ann Althouse's blog observes,
"Obama started his political career in the home of an unrepentant terrorist [Ayers] and is ending his career by pardoning an unrepentant terrorist. Symmetry."
At Asia Times, David Goldman sees Trump as an American hero:
The protagonists of American popular culture are outsiders with scant patience for authority. The Western heroes invented by Zane Grey and Louis L'Amour and portrayed by William S. Hart or John Wayne, and their urban cousins – the private detectives of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler – play loose with the law and play dirty with the opposition, but they have an inviolable inner code. They don't betray their friends and they don't exploit the weak. They don't aspire to entry into the elites, and they don't apologize for their vulgarity. They come in comic form, for example Huckleberry Finn, or nastily serious, like William Munny in Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven, or a bit of both in Hammett's wise-cracking angel of vengeance, the Continental Op.
Religious or not, the entire dramatis personae of American fiction descends from the Christian in John Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress, the original of which every product of the American literary imagination is a reworking. Americans are pilgrims. We have no settled culture, no inheritance of customs handed down over generations, no ancient vineyards or ancient recipes, no monuments from the deep past and no long memory. We invented ourselves as a nation out of the Protestant imagination, and we must journey towards a goal that we never will reach. The goal - salvation - always awaits just beyond the horizon. Our fiction lacks endings. Our national novel, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, ends perforce the way it began, with Huck running away from home: "But I reckon I got to light out for the Territory ahead of the rest, because Aunt Sally she's going to adopt me and sivilize me, and I can't stand it. I been there before."
There is nothing un-Christian in the fact that American pilgrims are rogues - rough men at best, killers and conmen at worst - for the English Puritans who imagined the United States as a "Hebrew Republic" believed that humanity was hopelessly depraved, and that only an act of special grace from God could save them from damnation. Trump is a Christian, to be sure, of a characteristically American variety: as the political scientist Joshua Mitchell observed, he was for decades a follower of the Rev. Norman Vincent Peale, whose bestselling version of the prosperity gospel in The Power of Positive Thinking made him rich. Whether and in what way Trump is a Christian, though, is far less important than the fact that he is instantly recognizable as the protagonist in a Christian drama: the lone avenger who stands up to the depraved powers of the world and calls them out for combat.
Wretchard T. Cat tweeted,
"The inauguration is a scene of disbelief, as when suddenly it was shown the earth was not flat, a whole cosmology died before worshippers."
Well, he's off to a heroic start against a fat, often corrupt bureaucracy, a partisan press and an outgoing mine planting president.
After a long ceremonial day he began signing executive orders undoing Obama's legacy in much the same way Egyptians chiseled Akhenaton's name off obelisks and temples. He's already signed one order that effectively guts Obamacare. He has teams headed into every department to reshape and restaff them.
Somewhat under the radar is an even more important development, a revolution in administrative law appears likely: two bills now pending which would if enacted substantially restrain the administrative state including the administrative misadventures of the now out of power Administration. Even before these changes, however, we can expect a major shift of policies, in which biased bureaucracies had stretched the law to meet their vision and which a new vision can just as easily reverse.